Hey everyone, Brad Moore here with a quick post. Did you miss last week’s episode of The Grid? Don’t worry, you can still watch it right here! On this episode, Matt Kloskowski was joined by both Lou Freeman and Moose Peterson where they discussed a number of ways to stop stressing over photography and enjoy it. If you’re the kind of person who worries about always getting a killer shot every time you go out? Do you think, “If I just had that one lens, I’d be able to take my photography to the next level.”? This episode might help you put things in perspective and get back to enjoying the art of photography.
In-Depth Workshops with Frank Doorhof August 29-31, Frank Doorhof will be hosting a workshop in New York City at a great location that will combine studio work, shooting with natural light, working with models, and post processing.
The group is limited so there is a lot of time for personal attention. This will be a learning frenzy with loads of tips and tricks on lighting, coaching the models, getting the right expression, natural light, strobes, mixing light sources, telling a story, building a brand, retouching and much much more.
If you want more info or to register, click here to book your ticket for the workshop you don’t want to miss!
Frank will also be hosting two-day workshop in the Netherlands August 1-2 where he’ll cover topics that you struggle with most, portfolio reviews, shooting on location with natural light and strobes, and retouching techniques. For more info on that workshop, click right here!
The Art of Digital Photography: The Inspirational Series with Lindsay Adler Join Mia McCormick for an inspirational conversation with Lindsay Adler, a portrait and fashion photographer based in New York. Over the course of an hour their conversation touches on topics ranging from how Lindsay got started shooting fashion to how she found her own unique creative voice, and from how to use visual tools for finding inspiration to the importance of transforming your personal projects into paying opportunities that fit your style of shooting.
Leave a comment for your chance to watch this class for free!
KelbyOne Live Want to spend a day with Scott Kelby, Joe McNally, or Corey Barker? Check out these seminar tours!
When you’re in high school, you’re on top of the world. You have everything figured out; a plan for everything. You’re told the next step in the road to success is college…. I started my college experience at a large university. It only took me a semester to realize that I was wasting a lot of time and money, cutting out shapes and gluing them on paper in my “introductory” art classes. Not to mention, everyone around me was more interested in the party scene. I felt like an outsider. Like, I wasn’t where I was supposed to be. I was more focused than my peers and had nobody to relate to. I felt isolated and dark, with only my art and music to turn to. So I came back home, took a semester off and continued working in a retail job. I attended a local community college that fall where I majored in graphic design. It was in those classes that I realized I enjoyed creating images for my designs, more than the design itself. But it was too late to change majors, so I stuck it out and pursued photography outside of class. I began freelancing in 2006 shooting local bands, products, portraits and weddings, eventually winding up as a freelance retoucher for a local commercial photography studio. But freelance work was far and few between, so it’s not like I could sustain myself at that time.
As your life unfolds, things don’t always go the way you plan. I graduated college in 2007 and guess what? Companies weren’t handing out photography jobs. I went door to door in various cities looking for someone to give me a chance. But nothing was happening. Sure, I got to sit down with some agencies – but they weren’t hiring. So I continued working my retail day job while freelancing at night. I was no stranger to hard work. In fact, I learned what hard work was at a very early age. If I wanted something, I had to earn it. I bought my first electric guitar by mowing lawns in the summer of 97’. Teaching myself how to play guitar through the years taught me three things: discipline, patience and the ability to become a self-learner. These three qualities have transcended into other avenues of my life, including my career as a commercial photographer.
My wife Jill (girlfriend at the time) bought me my first Scott Kelby book, the 7-Point System, for Christmas in the winter of 2007. Reading that book was a mind altering experience for me in terms of my Photoshop education. For the first time ever, I had experienced a fun way to learn the software that would help me create the type of imagery that I had in my head. Scott’s approach to teaching was like nothing I had ever read before. It was fun to read, easy to comprehend and also entertaining at the same time. By completing the tutorials in the book, I felt a great sense of accomplishment. It also made me realize that I didn’t know as much as I thought I did. Through Photoshop User Magazine, I learned about NAPP (National Association of Photoshop Professionals). I quickly became a member and subscribed to Kelby Training. Scott’s original portrait retouching class blew my mind. It was full of “WOW” moments for me. Things just started to click. After graduating college and several failed attempts to land a job in a creative field, I became burned out. Kelby Media Group single handedly reignited my excitement and fueled my creativity again.
When you’re a hard worker and you work in the retail industry, they want to promote you. And promote me they did. In 2008, I landed a job at the corporate office of the largest retailer in the world. Nothing was happening with my photography at that time…what did I have to lose? My job was to create open flight 3D simulations of new and existing stores. Not a bad place to be in my early 20’s. My wife (girlfriend at the time) and I moved our entire lives 12 hours away from everything we had ever known for me to take that job. Although I had met some great people there, it didn’t take long for me to realize that the lifestyle of Corporate America just wasn’t for me. Sure, I was making great money, but I was sitting in a cubicle all day, behind a computer that never worked, having meetings about meetings. I never really felt any sense of accomplishment at that job. The only escape I had were my lunch breaks.
I had an hour. Everyday at lunch, I would go out to my car to get out of the office environment and clear my mind. I would spend that hour watching things like Zack Arias’ OneLight Workshop on my iPod, reading issues of Photoshop User Magazine, and Scott Kelby Photoshop books. That hour always flew by. So, if you think about it, I spent about 260hrs on my lunch period alone over the course of that year immersing myself in sea of photography and Photoshop related education. This is a trend that continues even to this day. I have a real passion for learning new things, not only in photography, but other areas as well. I studied studio lighting for a solid year and used nothing but cheap painters lights from Lowes before eventually buying real studio strobes. Experimenting with these cheap lights taught me how to really “see” light. As Joe McNally says, “Light is the language of Photography.”
After working at that corporate office for a year, I just couldn’t take anymore. I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t being fulfilled creatively. It was a soul sucking experience in my life. Something had to change, so we moved back to our hometown in Northern Indiana. I left the corporate life, and corporate wage behind, only to return to my old life as a retail employee. Only this time it was different. I felt like I had taken a step backwards. I felt like I had made a mistake. I had a perfectly good job, and made great money. I should have been content. But I wasn’t. I could have stayed there and worked my way up the corporate ladder. But it wasn’t about that. It was about something deeper…
Upon my return, I took a management position and took a large pay cut. Yes, I was manager and took a pay cut, you read that correctly. Things were pretty rough for a while. One day I remember being pulled into the office by my retail store manager. He was very adamant about having me join the upper level management team in his store. He told me that I was “wasting my time” with my freelance work, and that I should be focusing on inline management within the company. I had a decision to make… and it was an easy one. Needless to say, I traded that retail job for another one before finally landing a full time job as a retoucher for a commercial photography studio that I had started a relationship with back in 2006. I worked there full time for about a year before transitioning into a full time career as a commercial photographer/digital artist at an advertising agency.
My parents once told me when I was a kid (as most parents do), “When you grow up, you can be anything you want to be.” Today, I’m fortunate enough to say that I’m doing what I feel I was meant to do, at least at this point in my life. I’m Brian Rodgers Jr. Commercial Photographer/Digital Artist. I’ve been a dreamer my whole life, but I’ve also been a realist at the same time. One of the reasons I think I’ve gotten this far, is because I have two things going for me. In the words of the great Joel Grimes, “I have a passion for the creative process, and I’m a hard worker.” I’m always working towards my next goal.
Every artist has a different path. You must realize however, that the path never has an ending. “Life is a journey, not a destination” as the saying goes. Sometimes it’s almost easy to just give up on your dreams when you have people in your life telling you that “you’re wasting your time,” and that you should just do something else. Those people are detractors – don’t let them steal your dreams! It’s so easy to get comfortable in your unsatisfying day job. It’s so easy to put things off. So stop doing it! You alone have to fuel your fire and keep your dreams alive. Set goals, and push yourself to achieve them.
If you’re not getting the type of work you know you’re capable of doing, go out and create that work for yourself. Do it totally unpaid. Build your portfolio. You have to practice if you want grow as an artist. This is also how you get experience. This is how you become an expert in your field. Create the type of work that you eventually want to get hired to shoot. Building a portfolio of those types of images is the key to getting hired. Create your own opportunities.
Don’t stress over gear. You will acquire essential gear over time as you build your career. Gear is not nearly as important as vision. A little bit of gear can go a long way when you have vision. Nearly every image I’m posting today was shot with a Canon Rebel t2i, and 3 or less strobes. Two of the images were lit with a single LED pen light. Can you guess which ones they are? At the end of the day, the only people who really care about what camera you are using are other photographers. Gear is great, but only when it helps you achieve your vision as an artist. My personal work/self assignments are what landed me a job at the advertising agency I currently work at. My personal work also allows for freelancing opportunities. (All of the images that I’m posting today are self assignments, btw). Not only have self assignments opened up awesome opportunities for me, they have also helped me develop my own way of shooting and retouching; my own process.
Douglas Sonders wrote a great post on Scott’s Blog a while back about the important of self assignments. Go read it! Everything he is saying has merit. In retrospect, my college portfolio was not great. It was full of school assignments. It didn’t really show who I was as a photographer. So I had a lot of work to do over the years. I’m still working on new things all the time to take my work to that next level.
Through the past 7 years, my wife has been one of my biggest influences. She has always believed in me and pushed me to be better. She bought me my first Scott Kelby book. She made sure that I had a Wacom Intuos tablet for retouching (which completely changed the way I work.) When I needed a model to practice portrait lighting, she was always the first person to sit in front of my camera. She still to this day brings home cool things for me to shoot. Through everything, she has always been my support. She’s awesome!
I believe that everything in life happens for a reason. Why? What if I told you, that I met my wife in pre-school? It’s true! We first met when we were just 4 years old. And boy did we like each other. After pre-school, she was gone. I didn’t see her for many years after that because we went to different schools. All I had to remember her by were fragments of childhood memories. Fast forward 20 years from pre-school, we recognize each other at a Taco Bell drive through. She left her business card at the drive thru window with her cell number on the back. The Taco Bell employee gave me that card and the rest is history. That girl I had met in preschool, is now my wife.
Oh yeah, and those years of retail….it turns out that I learned all kinds of skills including how to communicate with different types of people. And wouldn’t ya know it, those communication skills that I learned over the course of 10 years in retail, are now coming in pretty handy in my career as a commercial photographer. Because I talk with all types of people on a daily basis. The year I spent in the corporate office, actually helped me develop a lot of Photoshop skills I may not have otherwise acquired. I had built a lot of retail products (including the boxes) from scratch in Photoshop, those products ended up being placed on shelves of retail store layouts in the 3D models my team and I were working on. The ability to create objects and products from scratch has helped me immensely in my retouching abilities. Furthermore, because of my struggles and hardships throughout the years, I have a deeper appreciation for what I do professionally. Because I really had to work for it. Photography is hard work!
The experiences that you will encounter throughout your life, help shape the work that you create. For me, it’s really prevalent when I’ve got that perfect playlist going and I’m in my creative zone. The frustration, the angst, the happiness and sadness; all behind those pixels we today call digital imagery. The images you create are a reflection of you. Which is probably why we as photographers get emotionally attached to our images.
If you’ve ever worked in a job that you dread going to everyday, keep your head up. If you have a passion for something, pursue it! Don’t make excuses. Keep putting everything you have into your craft. If you want it, you’ve gotta work for it. Being a photographer for a living is not an easy job. In fact, it’s damn hard. Photography has become somewhat of a fad these days. But I believe the artists that really work on their craft, and think like entrepreneurs, are the ones who are more likely to have the opportunity to do it professionally. It’s a very rewarding career, but it’s very hard work! I’m nowhere near the skill level I’d like to be, but I’m on my way.
Here’s a time-lapse retouch video that I created of a recent self assignment:
Dream Big. Stay inspired. Never stop learning. Be honest. Be genuine. Be yourself!
I wanted to give a shout out to my buddy Melvin, who I met in Chicago at Scott’s “Shoot Like a Pro” seminar. Good guy!
Finally, I wanted to thank Scott Kelby & Brad Moore for the opportunity to share my thoughts on a stage shared by some of the best photographers in the world! And a special thanks to Pete Collins!
Brian Rodgers Jr.is an Addy Award winning Commercial Photographer/Digital Artist based out of the South Bend, Indiana area. When he needs to take a break from photography (and we all do from time to time), he’s writingand recording his own guitar driven music. You can see more of Brian’s work atDigitalArtThatRocks.comand connect with him on Google+, Twitter, & Behance.
I’ve been working on this series for a while now, and I finally got enough to do a full post over at Exposure.co (so all the shots, and full story is over there. Exposure.to is designed for photographic story-telling).
It’s a series of famous landmarks, buildings and monuments photographed as if they were taken on a white seamless paper background, but surprisingly the white sky effect is primarily done “in-camera” (I explain it, and the post processing part of it over on the post).
OK, first last night we launched a totally new Photoshop World Conference & Expo Web site (seen above), with better, easier, and more “Vegas-ie” navigation plus lots of cool photos and stuff to help you plan your trip to Vegas with us. OK, enough of that (but if you jumped over there right now to see the new site, it wouldn’t hurt my feelings one bit). [wink] ;-)
NEW INSTRUCTORS Next, who’s new to our teaching roster this September: I’ll tell ya — it’s cool people. Really cool people, like:
Tim Wallace UK-based Automotive Photographer
> Amazing teacher and talent (I love this guy!) > Looks better in person than this photo > Not as good looking as me of course, but certainly handsome > He’ll be shooting a car right in his class. We’ll patch the bullet holes with Bondo.
Roberto Valenzuela LA-based Photographer and trainer, Book Author, Lover (by looking at his photo)
> This guy’s books are killin’ it! The dude can write. > He can shoot and teach like a boss! > If he looks this good in person, I’m going to cut him from the roster. > He’s part of our new Wedding Photography Track, that runs all three days. He’s “Berry Sessy!”
Frank Salas Master Wedding Photographer and instructor
> Another handsome guy. Not helping me. > His bio is a mile long, but in short, he was named one of the best wedding photographers in the world > He crushed the classes he did for KelbyOne. Plus, some of our staff have crushes on him. Just sayin’ > He’s on our new Wedding Track, too! You knew that, right?
Peter Hurley Stud. Also shoot head shots.
> Looks like a model. Was a model. A model prisoner. (unconfirmed rumor) > Taught at Atlanta Photoshop World, so he’s not “technically” new but he’s new to our Vegas conference, so…. > He was a huge hit in Atlanta. He’s a huge hit everywhere he goes. Peter Hurley for President > Not nearly this good looking in person. Looks more like Comedian Gilbert Godfrey. Quite possibly his twin.
PSYCHED TO HAVE THEM BACK AGAIN: These are some awesome instructors who we’re thrilled to have back on our “Instructor Dream Team:”
Lindsay Adler NYC-based Fashion Photographer
> Awesome photographer and fantastic teacher > Wears dangerously high heels when teaching. Could fall at any time which adds drama. > Really good at lighting, posing, and knows many colorful New York phrases > Great business sense. Great fashion sense. May have Spidey sense.
David Curedon Retoucher, Photographer, Big Ol’ Teddy Bear
> We have missed this guy — his retouching is off the chain (plus, we just love him) > He has a ton of fans at KelbyOne for his online retouching classes (and cool custom retouching brushes) > His head is smaller than all the other instructors but we don’t mention it (feelings matter). > Suffers from Aulophobia (the fear of flutes), but still is a great teacher as long as “Aqualung” doesn’t come on
James Schmelzer Senior Portrait Photographer and Lighting Ninja
> Has mad skills. Does a lot of teaching for the Westcott lighting folks. Awesome instructor! > Is based in Michigan but yet owns a foreign car. That’s one strike. > Has been spotted several times in North Korea on “business.” Strike two! > Is not Peter Hurley. Good save. #schmelzerforthewin
PLUS THESE FOLKS WILL BE TEACHING THERE, TOO: It’s an instructor dream team of the best of the best:
> Scott Kelby(Devastatingly handsome man. That alone should be enough) > Joe McNally (Magical Unicorn of Flash) > Dave Black (Sports Legend and Untapped Source of Energy) > Joel Grimes (Compositing and Lighting Shogun) > Moose Peterson (Love Machine) > Tamara Lackey (She Shoots Kids. Er…photographs children) > Jay Maisel (Cranky New Yorker) > Matt Kloskowski (Landscape Photographer. Photoshop Guy. Carb Collector & Licensed Calorie Trustee). > Ben Willmore (Photoshop Rainmaker specializing in classic bus repair) > Brian Smith (Celebrity Photo Guru and has really cool glasses) > Corey Barker (Insane Photoshop Skills. Too good for his own good. Not sure what that means) > David Ziser (Wedding Wunderkind and Certified Kentucky Colonel) > Frank Doorhof (He’s Dutch!) > Pete Collins (Photoshop Guy often seen wearing an Urban Sombrero) > Bill Fortney (A man barely alive) > Russell Brown (Adobe’s own madman of Photoshop and flight. Distills his own bourbon) > Jason Groupp (Best dressed Wedding photographer in Northern Hemisphere) > Kevin Ames (Knows many good restaurants in Atlanta. Only drinks Coke products) > Terry White (Adobe Guy. Owns several Apple products. Possible Vegan) > RC Concepcion (Photoshop Guy, 43.3% Clairvoyant. Master Sergeant of HDR and other acronyms) > Glyn Dewis (Has a funny accent. Could be foreign. Will probably be deported.) > Jim DiVitale (His name means love in seven languages) > Helene Glassman (Gets awfully cozy with Jim Divitale) > Jack Davis (Graphics Guru from Cali [...ain't no party like a west coast party cause a west coast party don't stop]) > Faye Sirkis (Passionate Artist with a shoplifting habit) > Erik Valind (He’s young and in love. Probably). > Dave Cross (Stealing American jobs for more than a decade) > Scott Diussa (Concert photographer & screaming lead guitar player) > Alan Hess (Concert photographer, can’t play anything but has great hair) > Bert Monroy (Not a concert photographer, but could draw a very convincing concert scene) > Julieanne Kost (Adobe’s own Diva of Lightroom. Probably using a stage name) > Bryan Hughes (Adobe power broker. Deadly at Pai Gow Poker) > Colin Smith (Sounds Australian. Check his papers). > Joe Glyda (Shoots food. It sometimes shoots back. Loves Red Dye #3)
MAN, THAT’S A WHOLE LOTTA INSTRUCTORS! Well, we’ve got a whole lotta classes — over 100, in seven different training tracks, over three days. Whew!
OK, SO ARE YOU COMING TO JOIN US IN VEGAS? Not 100% sure? Then watch this quick video below that shows some of these awesome instructors in action (no way you can not go after watching that video. No way! It’s Vegas for you baby!)
YOU WANNA GO, RIGHT? Of course you do. Just say it out loud, “This is the year. I’m going!”
If you sign up right now, you can save money and get a full conference pass for only $525 (for KelbyOne members, it’s only $449. Seriously, that’s crazy!).
That’s for all three days, all the classes, the expo floor, the special events, the Adobe keynote, the get-togethers, the fun, the networking, the learning, the e-coli (just checking to see if you were still reading), and you’ll get to meet all your favorite KelbyOne instructors in person — so come and be with us out in Vegas — you’ll never forget it!
Here’s the link — head over there right now, then book your flights. See you in September! :)